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IWC Kurt Klaus
On the 80th birthday of Kurt Klaus

An old hand at IWC.

IWC Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase
The New Midsize Portofinos:
A Collector's Impression

The new Portofinos are art, in the highest and best sense of the word. They will always be in style and they will always reflect time-tested fine taste.

IWC Watches&Wonders
Watches&Wonders 2014

Order your invitation to the first unique Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition, Watches&Wonders 2014.

GIVING A FUTURE TO THE GALAPAGOS

“September 17, 1835. As I was walking along I met two large tortoises, each of which must have weighed at least 200 pounds. One was eating a piece of cactus, and as I approached, it stared at me and slowly stalked away; the other gave a deep hiss, and drew in its head."

Aquatimer
DISCOVER THE NEW AQUATIMER COLLECTION

Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC, explains the design of the new Aquatimer watches.

SIHH 2014 Booth
BEHIND THE SCENES AT IWC'S SIHH 2014 BOOTH

Take the wave to Geneva. For the 24th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), IWC invites visitors to take a plunge into deep water and discover the fascinating species that define the new Aquatimer collection.

Watches and Wonders
WATCHES&WONDERS

IWC Schaffhausen cordially invites you and guest to WATCHES&WONDERS, the first Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from September 25th-28th, 2013. To mark this event, IWC Schaffhausen will offer a chance to win an exclusive trip for two people to visit IWC’s manufacture in Schaffhausen, the home of IWC and will be whisked away to Portofino in Italy, where they will experience the inspiration behind one of IWC’s most famous collections.

NYC Skyline
IWC Schaffhausen Makes a Home on Madison Avenue

An epicenter of business and culture, New York City is one of the world’s most iconic cities. Both locals and tourists take advantage of the arts and theatres, renowned chefs and restaurants, and the constant flux of activity that makes the city one of a kind. So it makes sense that it is also home to IWC Schaffhausen’s North American flagship boutique, opened in April 2012 on the famous luxury shopping destination of Madison Avenue.

Experiences

The Watchman

Inside IWC

Text — Medard Meier Photos — David Willen Date — 1 July, 2010

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There may well be a few specialists more familiar with IWC and its history of over 140 years. But when it comes to watches and their intricate movements, he is probably without peer. A source of wonderment to the IWC Museum’s many visitors, the most beautiful, complicated and fascinating models from every phase in the company’s past are, in a sense, his children. Watchmaker Jürg Rüeger, 53, is the man who looks after the Museum’s watches, rather like a good father, ensuring that they run smoothly, are regularly oiled and always look their best. He is aware of all their special features and idiosyncrasies, and knows precisely what to do when they require attention.

Rüeger still lives near the Rhine Falls, where he grew up, but moved from the right bank to the slightly higher left after getting married. He has a profound understanding of the flow of time and knows only too well that the harmony radiated by the many superb watches on display can be deceptive. He completed his apprenticeship in 1978 at precisely the moment when the Swiss watchmaking industry was plunged into crisis as quartz signalled the demise of the mechanical watch. IWC Schaffhausen had no alternative but to slash its workforce from 380 to 140 in the space of just six months.

He was one of the lucky ones to survive, but could no longer afford to be choosy as to the work he did. “I became an all-rounder.” But all that has long been history: IWC is now bigger and stronger than ever. Today, Rüeger not only looks after the health of the roughly one thousand precious timepieces in the collection but also complements his other duties with those of a guardian.

He is aware of all their special features and idiosyncrasies, and knows precisely what to do when they require attention

—Opening times of the IWC Museum in Schaffhausen: Tuesday to Friday 3 to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 3 pm

IWC watches are regularly sent in to Schaffhausen from all over the world to have their authenticity verified. Rüeger is part of a three-man committee that subjects critical cases to meticulous scrutiny. Although the vast majority of the watches submitted are given a thumbs-up, confirmed in a certificate signed by all three members, a growing number of timepieces receive a definite “No”. The owners of these watches are notified of the committee’s findings in a terse note that provides no indication of the reasons for their decision. This is to avoid giving smart fakers clues as to how they could make their products more like the genuine article.

Rüeger takes more pleasure in filling the gaps in the collection. This is no longer as easy as it used to be because the items that are missing are increasingly rarities from very small production series, such as very early wristwatches. IWC played a pioneering role in popularizing the new timepieces, which replaced pocket watches during the early decades of the 20th century. The first revolutionary watches of this type left the factory as early as 1890. “To acquire examples of these really early wristwatches would be a dream for our museum,” says the watchmaker. “We’d certainly jump at the chance if we were ever offered such rare pieces,” adds David Seyffer, who is in charge of the watch museum at IWC headquarters in Schaffhausen. The community of collectors worldwide would probably forgive their favourite brand, although IWC makes it a strict principle not to compete with them.

And what does Jürg Rüeger do when he is not looking after his charges? Generally speaking, he makes good use of his watchmaker’s steady hands in his spare time. He is a marksman, shooting over the traditional distance of 300 metres, and an angler fishing the river he loves. Pike, trout and, in the winter months, the grayling native to the Rhine are the fish he regularly lands.

IWC Museum

Journey back in time

A visit to the company’s premises in Schaffhausen has long been an unforgettable and defining experience

Explore More Articles
IWC Kurt Klaus
On the 80th birthday of Kurt Klaus

An old hand at IWC.

IWC Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase
The New Midsize Portofinos:
A Collector's Impression

The new Portofinos are art, in the highest and best sense of the word. They will always be in style and they will always reflect time-tested fine taste.

IWC Watches&Wonders
Watches&Wonders 2014

Order your invitation to the first unique Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition, Watches&Wonders 2014.

GIVING A FUTURE TO THE GALAPAGOS

“September 17, 1835. As I was walking along I met two large tortoises, each of which must have weighed at least 200 pounds. One was eating a piece of cactus, and as I approached, it stared at me and slowly stalked away; the other gave a deep hiss, and drew in its head."

Aquatimer
DISCOVER THE NEW AQUATIMER COLLECTION

Christian Knoop, Creative Director at IWC, explains the design of the new Aquatimer watches.

SIHH 2014 Booth
BEHIND THE SCENES AT IWC'S SIHH 2014 BOOTH

Take the wave to Geneva. For the 24th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), IWC invites visitors to take a plunge into deep water and discover the fascinating species that define the new Aquatimer collection.

Watches and Wonders
WATCHES&WONDERS

IWC Schaffhausen cordially invites you and guest to WATCHES&WONDERS, the first Asian Haute Horlogerie exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from September 25th-28th, 2013. To mark this event, IWC Schaffhausen will offer a chance to win an exclusive trip for two people to visit IWC’s manufacture in Schaffhausen, the home of IWC and will be whisked away to Portofino in Italy, where they will experience the inspiration behind one of IWC’s most famous collections.

NYC Skyline
IWC Schaffhausen Makes a Home on Madison Avenue

An epicenter of business and culture, New York City is one of the world’s most iconic cities. Both locals and tourists take advantage of the arts and theatres, renowned chefs and restaurants, and the constant flux of activity that makes the city one of a kind. So it makes sense that it is also home to IWC Schaffhausen’s North American flagship boutique, opened in April 2012 on the famous luxury shopping destination of Madison Avenue.